Thursday, April 12, 2012

Shuttle Void

Back in August I did quite a bit of research after a space shuttle was awarded to the Intrepid Museum. I found it extremely hurtful that yet one more space artifact landed on the east coast. I was so disgusted and emotionally disturbed once the data was laid out, I never posted it. The bad attitude of the ungrateful recipients of Enterprise DID NOT help. And now on this glorious anniversary as our beautiful and amazing flying machines begin to be relegated to educational tools and relics, the water cooler and social media discussion picks back up. Asked to post my effort, here it is.

The stars on the US maps represent publicized bids for the space shuttles and whether they got a trainer or a real shuttle vehicle.First and foremost - the Space Shuttles were awarded to places with the most visitors. FALSE As you see in the below graphic, the Intrepid gets no more annual visitors than JSC.
Second - the Space Shuttles will be distributed evenly amongst the country's population. FALSE As you can see the below graphic the bulk of the country received no shuttle. One shuttle (as expected) on the west coast for 15.43% of the US population. What disgusted me the most was THREE space shuttles on the east coast - 75% of the space shuttles for only 36.78% of the US population.
Let's look at flown spacecraft distribution across our country. Seattle has NONE. I would have preferred the fourth shuttle to go to Seattle over NYC. At least they would have the ability to mount it on top of a 747 to illustrate the ferry/test flight mode - a unique opportunity for sure. The index on this graphic illustrates whether the spacecraft was manned.
So, where does that leave JSC? The center that trained EVERY SINGLE shuttle astronaut. The center with Mission Control that controlled EVERY SINGLE minute a space shuttle was in space. The graphic below shows where the trainers are going. I found no published data back in August on the locations of the MDF and SST-3.
So, there you go. At least KSC was nice enough to give us their old full-sized shuttle model. Greatly appreciative! And... we get a shuttle access arm and White Room! ;) Suck it, NYC!

Bottom Line - the decision was made by a secretary with no real mathematical justification. Great leadership...

2dayNspace: April 12th

Today should be declared Space Day! Cosmonautics Day is celebrated by the masses in Russia and those of us who have been personally effected by or involved with the Russian Space Program.
1961 Yuri Gagarin became the first human being in space! Yea, yea... FIA or whoever actual definitions aside - Yuri was definitely the first human in space regardless of how and where he landed! I picked up these little goodies in Russia (back when they were cheap in the mid-to-late 90s). You can find absolutely anything you can imagine to commemorate that historic day - even today!

I recently had a friend seem not impressed by my collections - a big part of my collection revolves around the pop culture of the manned space race. I find these things fun and full of life and imagination. He felt they were not personal collectibles. On the contrary, each of these items is very personal and many were acquired while being provided amazing opportunities for international travel to support NASA's international partners.

And nothing is more dear to my heart than the Space Shuttle! My entire 20+ year space career has revolved around the space shuttles. I counted it up one time - I think it was 75 flights I had been involved in. In 1981, on this day, Columbia was the first Space Shuttle to launch. I wish it was celebrated more - maybe it will be now that they are on the verge of being reduced to educational tools and museum relics instead of the amazing flying machine in its prime that it should be! I have every Time, Life, and Newsweek space cover, most framed on the wall.